6.3/10
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1 user 16 critic

L'empereur (2017)

A young penguin, driven by his instinct, embarks on his first major trip to an unknown destination.

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A young penguin, driven by his instinct, embarks on his first major trip to an unknown destination.

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Documentary

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Release Date:

15 February 2017 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Die Reise der Pinguine 2  »

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€69,646 (Italy) (26 February 2017)
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2.39 : 1
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Follows March of the Penguins (2005) See more »

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The march continues
7 November 2017 | by (Berlin, Germany) – See all my reviews

"L'empereur" or "March of the Penguins 2" is a French documentary movie from this year (2017) and it is of course a sequel to the 2005 movie "La marche de l'empereur" that won an Oscar back then and had the makers funnily bring little cuddly toy penguins bring to the stage. And after director Luc Jacquet worked on several other nature/environment films in the last over ten years, here he returns to what is the biggest success of his career still. At roughly 80 minutes, this new film has the same duration like the original. Sadly, it's been a long time since I watched that one, so it is a bit difficult to speak about parallels and crucial differences, but I still felt that this one here had a bit of a recycled feeling to it, like a best-of of the old movie from 12 years ago. That doesn't mean it's really bad or anything, but it did not feel so fresh and innovative anymore. The photography and recordings of the animals and Pole landscapes are without a doubt breathtaking once again and the film is also informative telling some of the most important aspects from penguin (family) life.

The problem is that you have heard these already if you have seen the first. But a bit of repetition is also somewhat inevitable I guess because the characters are the same as from the first, so it really is by definition a sequel too. The major focus this time is on the child's perspective. The pre-hatching part is kept at a minimal level really, but it is about the first year of growing and finding his place in this spectacular new world and the penguin community. The parts with the main characters talking or how we hear their thoughts was removed from the original. A bit of a pity. At least in the German version, the one I saw. This one was narrated by Udo Wachtveitl and as I never cared for Tatort, I have no connection with him really. But he did a good job all in all I guess. If there were weaknesses with the narration, then it was more because of what he said and not because of how he said it. Still, next to all the criticism I have here, let me emphasize again that in terms of the visual perspective this was a really beautiful film. And hey penguins are simply amazing, especially if they are almost as big as their parents, but still look like young birds. Cuteness overflow! One of the parts I liked the most was the one when the penguin basically "transformed into another animal" as the narrator said and yes it is somewhat true. Even if they may be birds, their inability to fly and great swimming/diving talents make them resemble fish so much and their bodies look like mini-Orcas when they are in the water. Also I want to add that this is not 100% documentary. There is a big fictionalized aspect in the story-telling of the script and narrator. Remember how they said how hard it must be for the parents to find their young one? How hard must it be for the cameramen? Anyway, lets not be too picky here. And opposing my comments on how it all was done before already, I must say in the filmmaker's favor that it is somewhat original again from the moment the mother disappears and the focus is even more on the (not anymore so) little one. These last 20 minutes do stand out more than the rest. They probably won't win another Oscar here, but another nomination would not be undeserving. I give this film certainly a thumbs-up. Also a good watch for younger audiences. And for those who have not seen the 2005 version. And for those who may have seen the first and just can't get enough of penguins. Like myself. Go check it out.


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